Three cars catering to all your needs. All for less than a price of a base Ferrari.
Most car fans will spend many fun-filled, if somewhat pointless, hours scouring the internet looking for the best imaginary cars to fill their massive and also just as imaginary garages with. While there are plenty of great choices out there, things get a lot more interesting if you have to limit your choices to only three cars, especially if these cars will have to be capable of everything from weekend blasts to weekday school runs. Now let’s throw another requirement in the mix and focus on just one manufacturer.
We have chosen to go with Jaguar, a marque that has recently been producing cars with the kind of style and desirability that it used to exhibit with such icons as the Jaguar XK and E-Type models in the ‘50s and ‘60s. Its range has expanded too so now there are sporty 2-seaters, SUVs and luxury sedans to choose from. So, to get started we will need a carry-all family car, something that has the trunk space for a week away and can clamber up an off-road trail without leaving bits of its bodywork on the ground.
The Practical Family Option Our choice is the superb Jaguar F-Pace 30t SUV model, which features a 296 horsepower 2.0-liter turbo motor and offers decent fuel economy allied with some serious straight-line pace. 0-60 mph takes a mere 5.7-seconds, quick enough to see off some fast sedans, and it is also more than capable of tackling some rough terrain with its all-wheel drive setup and high ride-height. Stick to the Prestige trim level as it offers some great features such as heated leather seats, navigation and keyless entry and is still reasonably priced.
The base 25t may save you a few dollars but it is no more fuel efficient and you lose 49 hp and some equipment too. The new E-Pace also looks desirable but it is not all that much cheaper than the bigger F-Pace and you will struggle to fit a family of four and their luggage inside. The price is competitive too with this particular version costing around $52,000. Right, so the practical family car has been catered for, now for something smaller but still capable of taking on daily-driver duties. Our contenders are the XE compact luxury sedan, mid-sized XF and premium XJ sedans.
The Daily Driver The XJ has been around for a while now and while it still drives and looks like a modern car, its dated infotainment system and sheer size count against it here. The XF is one size down and is also available in the Sportbrake body style, essentially a stylish wagon that adds some practicality while still retaining its sporting demeanor. The sedan is available in more engine and drivetrain configurations though and prices can ramp up rather quickly once you start looking at the top-tier models. So that leaves us with the compact XE, it is well-built, quick and looks sharp too. Having been released in 2015, the safety and technology systems are also right up to date.
It may not be a dynamic match for the dominant 3-Series sedan but it arguably smoother on rougher roads and the interior looks fresher too. The base model is plenty for daily duties and offers strong performance from its 247-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo engine. You will want to add all-wheel drive as it decreases the 0-60 mph time from 6.5 to 5.8 seconds while offering the same fuel economy but don’t spend extra on the higher trim levels as you get 10-way power front seats, rear passenger air vents and an 8-inch touchscreen fitted as standard. Even the trunk is a decent size despite the compact exterior dimensions. The approximate cost before getting too excited with the options list is $38,000.
The Weekend Warrior Now that all the practical angles have been catered for let’s look at the one that will have us getting up at 5am on Saturday morning to go for a drive just for the fun of it. The stunning F-Type is the obvious choice here, the base 2.0-liter is a fine machine but it is not going to get the adrenaline flowing in quite the same way as the 5.0-liter V8 models can. The top F-Type SVR version pumps out a scary 575 supercharged horses and thanks to its AWD system will blast you to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds. The F-Type SVR is not just a pumped-up regular V8 either, it is the product of the newly formed Jaguar Special Vehicles Operations (SVO) center.
Through the clever use of modern materials and construction techniques the SVO team have transformed the already accomplished F-Type into a 200-mph speed machine. Active aerodynamics, weight saving components and a bespoke and uniquely luxurious interior are the hallmarks of the SVR. All this power and speed does mean that you are not going to be breaking any fuel efficiency records but fuel economy is something you can worry about during the week. So is practicality as this is strictly a two-seater. You get a whole lot of advanced engineering for your $125,000, along with the usual luxury features one expects in a Jaguar, but it is the superb exhaust note and that massive power that will be the most memorable part of every journey.
Reality check So, to sum up, we now have a practical SUV, sporty and efficient sedan and a powerful V8 sportscar all for just over $215,000. Sure, that may seem like a lot at first glance but don’t forget that this is just the starting point for cars like the Aston Martin DB11 and Ferrari Portofino, neither of which are practical enough for daily use or have the ability to go off-road, plus you still only get one car. If we were forced to ditch the man math and become a bit more realistic, the pic of the bunch would have to be the F-Pace SUV.
Its blend of speed, practicality and pricing makes it the ideal all-rounder here and while the 296-hp 30t is still a great choice we could also make a great case for the 380-hp 3.0-liter Supercharged V6 S version. This model adds about $8,000 to the price but you get adaptive LED headlights, 18-way power front seats and a whole lot more besides. It also gets to 60 mph in a mere 5.1-seconds which makes it as quick as some properly sporty coupes, surely a case of having your cake and eating it.